Stifled yawns greeted the first news of an entirely sustainable seafood restaurant opening in River North. Even knowing the brain trust from Element Collective (Chris Dexter, Chris Freeman, Jared Van Camp, and John Warken) was behind it barely moved the needle. But after the group gave the old Zen-bent Zealous digs a complete do-over—Gothic chandeliers, Oriental rugs suspended from the ceiling—and put Duncan Biddulph (Rootstock) in the kitchen, interest sparked. And rightfully so.
Biddulph revels in original preps of fabulously fresh seafood. Consider his gutsy seviche-style PEI mussels marinated with lemon, fennel, garlic, and Espelette pepper or Skuna Bay salmon tartare rife with the flavors and textures of cornichons, mustard seeds, parsley, and shallots. And the user-friendly Alaska king crab legs served with aïoli and mignonette and horseradishy cocktail sauces come ready to pop out of their shells. What a great idea.
Desserts? Not so much. Skip the apple pie and finish with a pisco sour. That should keep your interest.
Perfect for: Fish lovers with a sense of flair